The Wild Sakura of Thailand
My first trip to see the Northern Thailand’s wild Himalayan Cherry Blossom was in end Dec 2011 but it turned out to be too early. After a long and winding road trip up to Kun Chang Kiean, we arrived at a small village park and all we saw was one tree with Sakura flowers. The whole mountain was still vivid green without a trace of pinkish flower.
And here I am back again in mid Jan of 2015 for another trip to Chiang Mai and Pai, with a detour to Sukhothai. As only Asia fly direct to Chiang Mai from Kuala Lumpur I had to wake up so early to get to the KLIA2 that by the time I cleared immigration the Plaza Premium lounge was not even open yet. By the time we arrived at Chiang Mai we were all so hungry and our local guide took us straight to find breakfast at a popular local stall. This small shop sells noodle and rice with a variety of pork condiments. The crispy pork is surely the most popular as most the people are having some on their table.
After a hearty breakfast, we were happy to continue our plan to Kun Chang Kiean as our local guide got news from his friend that the Sakura are blooming now. It quite a journey getting to the small village as we passed by Chiang Mai University, Chiang Mai Zoo and Doi Suthep. We didn’t stop the Wat Suthep as were plan to be back in the evening for sunset.
As it was Sunday or maybe everyone just like us got the new that the Sakura are blooming the road after passing the Palace became a long line of vehicles crawling up the narrow mountain road. By the time we reach the 3-way junction to Hmong Village and Kun Chang Kiean we decided to visit the Hmong village first rather then get stuck there for hours. Hmong village is typical tourist spot, selling souvenirs and local handicrafts but there is also a small garden with opium flowers and at this season the Sakura is also blooming too. We spend some time at this garden (there is a entrance fee for tourist) and it was more packed with tourist during this season.
After we had a simple and delicious lunch break in the Hmong village, we continued to Kun Chang Kiean. The road is still heavy with traffic but at least is moving now. The small village is also packed with local and foreign tourists, with many stopping at the narrow dusty road to look at the Sakura flower. The sun was getting low and being block by the mountain on the west so it best to come in the morning if you want to take better photos.
After spending an hour here we made our way down to Wat Suthep reaching there just as the sunset. Instead of taking the lift up we decided to walk up the long flight of steps guarded both side by twin dragon, which has its Chinese name of Twin Dragon Temple. We walk around the temple and wait till its blue hour before we return to the city.
All photos taken with Nikon D750